Critics are calling a Trump administration plan for a rapid US force draw down in Afghanistan which involves striking a peace deal with the Taliban a "betrayal".
But administration officials have countered that this is the cost of bringing the some 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan home. Trump "has been pretty clear that he wants to bring the troops home" according to senior officials privy to ongoing negotiations.
The chief controversy behind the US-Taliban peace talks is that any deal will likely rely on the Taliban holding to counterterrorism guarantees, or that it won't attack US coalition forces; however, there's reportedly little in the impending deal which holds the Taliban to guarantees it won't attack Afghan civilians or the national army.
According to CNN:
One source explained that the agreement is seen as paving the way for the US to leave the country without a high number of US casualties in the coming months.
President Trump said he had a "very good meeting in Afghanistan" in a tweet Friday, just after meeting with top national security advisers over the impending peace plan which seeks to end America's longest running war, now approaching two decades.
"Discussions centered around our ongoing negotiations and eventual peace and reconciliation agreement with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan," a White House press spokesman said of the meeting. "The meeting went very well, and negotiations are proceeding."
“In continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a cease-fire, ensuring that Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the United States or her allies, and bringing Afghans together to work towards peace,” the statement said.
CNN summarizes of the deal that it's "expected to formalize a significant withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan -- from about 15,000 troops to 8,000 or 9,000 troops -- and enshrine official commitments by the Taliban to counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, according to the multiple sources familiar with the plan."
But there's fear that the Taliban is simply looking to remove the US military from the equation, and that once the US departs, the Taliban will have free reign to attack a greatly weakened Afghan national army.
Spearheading the dialogue has been White House special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been meeting with Taliban negotiators in Qatar for months, with a desire to strike a final deal by September 1.